Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tips on how to balance work and baby

As Mums, we get told we can 'have it all'. In other words, that is code for being expected to not only look after children and the house but have to work as well and contribute to the household income. It's not all roses by any means (sorry suffragettes and other women's lib movements) and it usually results in us Mums being stretched to the limit in more ways than one.

However, we are extremely lucky to actually have the choice whether to work or not, and I have been one of the working Mums that for all three of my children have worked right up to babies birth, and back to work once bub is born (with bub in tow I might mention for all of them, my daughter is now 20 months and is still with me full-time, I just work around her schedule).

I thought I would share with you a few of my tips for balancing work and baby as there are definitely some strategies you can implement to make life a little easier for you and your family.

  1. Even if you are working, you and your family still need to eat dinner each night. Unless you have a husband or partner that helps out here, take the pressure off the evening routine by planning your dinners and making use of your slow cooker by throwing a meal in it early, so it is ready to go at dinner time. Loan some slow cooker cookbooks from the library and photocopy some recipes that suit you and go from there. Plan your meals for the week and cook in double or even triple so you can pop meals in the fridge or freezer and not have to cook every night.
  2. Be organised with babies needs. The night before, pack the nappy bag so that you are not having to do it as you are heading out the door.
  3. Make use of online shopping. Whether shopping for clothing or groceries, life is so much easier these days when you can do it all at night or over the weekend and not have to worry about fitting it into your busy work day.
  4. If you work in an office, ask if you can work from home for some of your days. Perhaps your workplace can implement some external workplace systems for you and any other parents that wish to do this.
  5. Don't feel bad about having your child involved in your work. The great majority of people understand when you have your children there... I have had many telephone calls with kids making noise in the background or having to talk to clients/customers/tenants with baby spew down my back!
  6. Make lists, keep a diary, and be as organised as you can. This is definitely one of my top ways of coping with everything in my life. It helps me not forget anything and keeps everything in perspective. 
  7. Differentiate between IMPORTANT and URGENT, and tackle things appropriately.
  8. Limit social media time if you feel you spend too much time on Facebook or similar. 
  9.  Realise some days will simply be dead losses if baby is sick or otherwise out of sorts. If this happens what will you do? Will you be able to not work and look after baby? Or do you have someone else who can?
  10. Finally, banish that Mother Guilt. Whether you work or not, know that you are a great Mum and that you are doing a great job :)

Do you work after having children? What has been your top strategy for coping?

This post is written in partnership with Goodman AU.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: Beetle Bottoms

I am just so pleased to have the opportunity to introduce you to the stunning imaginary world of Beetle Bottoms.

Beetle Bottoms creates a world where your children’s imagination can come to life,where your children know how amazing they are, where they know they are loved, and they know they can follow their dreams.

Imagine that in your garden, high up in the trees, are tiny little houses hidden among the leaves; and in these tiny houses live tiny little people just like you and me... Impossible you say, well there are somethings you just have to believe in order to see.

Created by an extremely talented family, the Beetle Bottoms world is brought to life for your children in a range of beautiful products. All the amazing illustrations are drawn by well known New Zealand artist Fiona Whyte (now living in Australia with the rest of her family who are the creative force behind the Beetle Bottoms stories and products).

The 2 books in the range are just so beautiful. "Where is Pip" is a board book and perfect for toddlers - my 19 month old loves the bright bold pictures, and adores lifting the flaps to see what is underneath. It is now one of her favourite books to look at. My 7 year old loves sitting with her too and reading the words for her.

"Beetle Bottoms and the Sticky Situation" is for older children and is a longer story of the Beetle Bottoms adventures. My sons love the storyline, especially the bit with the spider in it!! If you need to buy a gift for a pre-schooler or school aged child, this is definitely one book to add to your list. We just love it. When the review pack arrived my 8 year old immediately grabbed this book and didn't put it down again until he had finished it. Great praise indeed for my son to sit and finish the book in one go, it certainly held his attention from beginning to end

As a Mum, I particularly love the Beetle Bottoms Story Play Cards. For only $18 you receive a box of 36 Story Play Cards, which you use with your children to stimulate their imagination. Each card has a different picture on one side with a story starter on the other. For example one card reads "The wind was blowing leaves all around the garden. We....." This gives you a starting point to create a story of your very own. Why not grab an exercise book and write your stories down so you don't forget them! 

Beetle Bottoms also have a range of beautiful Removable Wall Decals. What a perfect way to brighten up your child's bedroom, wardrobe, nursery, or play area. Plus you don't have to worry about them damaging the walls or furniture as they easily peel off again! Like the rest of the range, these are so beautiful because of their innocent and fun themes.

Beetle Bottoms gets a big tick from myself and my 3 children. There is a decided lack of products out there these days that actually believe in not only stimulating our children's imaginations, but also making them feel good about themselves and others in the process. Beetle Bottoms fulfils all this and more.

If you would like to purchase any of the Beetle Bottoms products (just in time for Christmas!!) please use the code "cheeky" which gives 15% off across their range, and expires 31 Dec 2014.

Disclaimer: A pack of products was provided to conduct this review. No payment was received for this post and any opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Christmas Wish List

So... we all spend an extreme amount of time compiling gift lists for our children, husbands/partners, and other family members.... but what about us Mums? Have you sat down and complied a list of the things YOU would like? I have to admit I very rarely do this, as I believe a gift given should be gratefully received and used in the spirit of which it was given.  But, hey, we all love a change once in a while and these are the things I am coveting at the moment (yes I will reiterate this is a WISH list so please don't bother having a go at me for being materialistic or any other rubbish... we are all allowed to dream, right?).

New Sunglasses. The sunnies I currently own I have had for 20 years (I kid you not). While I love them they are so scratched they are getting really annoying. I'm busy checking out some of the ladies styles from Bolle.... very nice indeed :)

Wedges from Louis Vuitton. I have a pair I bought on my honeymoon and I love them soooo much I would like another pair in my cupboard. That's not too much to ask is it???

Organic Skincare. Shangri La Organics smells divine and unlike anything else.... The Foot Balm and Hand Balm are on my list to help me drift through the hot busy Christmas season on a cloud of divine aromatherapy scents. Plus they ship worldwide.

So, tell me, what's on your Christmas Wish List??

Some other posts and articles you might enjoy: 
Hospital Bag Checklist
Oh Baby
10 Things to do in the First Trimester
10 Things to do in the Second Trimester
What products do you really need for your newborn baby?
My top bathtime tips for a new baby
BubbaLog makes those first few weeks easy
5 Common Herbs to avoid during Pregnancy
5 Top Tips for using a Baby Comforter 

Monday, November 4, 2013

How your furniture changes with a baby

You can spot the home of a child-free family a mile away. There is generally knick-knacks everywhere within reach, there might be photos in pretty frames standing on a coffee table, there might be dining chairs made from a lovely cream suede, and it probably looks uncluttered and even might have a nice decorator furniture and colour scheme going on.

Switch this lovely peaceful view to that of a family with young children. More than likely you will see no movable objects at all within reach, there will be safety locks on pretty much every door and cupboard (and even the fridge), there are probably pen marks on the walls, and there are toys scattered around everywhere. Ok, yes, I have described my own house there if you hadn't already guessed that.

If you are currently pregnant or even just thinking about having a baby soon, there are quite a few things I would suggest to start taking into consideration if investing in furniture at any time (yes start thinking about this before you have kids not after!).

Consider the following:

  • How will the piece of furniture perform with a baby or toddler around?
  • Is it spindly and unstable? 
  • Can it tip over easily? 
  • Does it have sharp corners at a toddlers head height? 
  • Can you put child locks on it easily? 
  • Is it easy for a child to climb up on it? 
  • Is it a light colour that will show marks up easily? 
  • Is there fabric on it that will mark or tear easily?
  • Can you put a high-chair easily up to the dining table to share the meal with the rest of the family?
There are so many factors that change depending on whether you are buying for a child free home or one with children in it. With a little bit of research and consideration you can make things much easier for yourself depending on your choices, as well as being able to make your home as safe as possible once your baby is on the move.

This post is written in partnership with Nick Scali Furniture.